In search of sunshine

The theme of traveling to find the sun has remained relevant this week but unfortunately we’re run out of options within reasonable train travel. So we have come to accept the rain and the big, frizzy hair that comes along with it. 

We have had a few good sunny days so there’s no need to be feeling sorry for us. 

And we’re optimistic that we may find some sun once or twice again before the end of the Spring school break when we put Grandma back on a plane.  

With our optimism of finding warm sun, we filled our suitcases with warm weather clothing and a couple cooler options if needed. I am always proud of myself when my packing choices allow me to wear every article at least once. This trip has been a success in that capacity, I’ve worn every item I brought. Just unfortunately all at the same time in order to stay warm! 

Being in Lugano in the rain is not nearly as fabulous as being here in the sun but it is far better than being in Winterthur in the snow. So we aren’t complaining.

Before coming south though we had a spectacular (cool but sunny) day touring the Rhein river not far from Winterthur. Started in the wonderful old city of Stein am Rhein where the choir we called ahead to pre-arrange for Mom was just perfect! (I would be daughter of the year if I pulled off that – this was just a happy coincidence.)

Building facades you could look at for ages.
Stein am Rhein – add it to your list of places to see. So lovely.

Flowers in window boxes… you know the drill.
A very popular destination to travel to by bike.
Numerous sidewalk patios beckoning you to sit and stay a while.

The soundtrack for this day. All great exploring should have musical accompaniment. 

We loved wandering through the town and learning about its long history. Like a storybook.

A rare moment when they weren’t pushing and shoving each other.
Wonderfully restored bits of the past life here.
A view into the past.
Exploring at low season provides lovely, quiet streets.
Grandma listening to another of Helena’s stories.
Yup.
Ditto.
The sheepskin blankets are still necessary on this chilly day.

We then hopped on a boat for a river cruise to take us to Schaffhausen and to see the Rhein falls. The river passes by both Swiss and German territory as it meanders along at a perfect, non-motion sickness inducing pace, thank heavens. All in all a lovely day.
Enjoying some sun on the deck.
Ma on the river cruise.
Watching for birds and fish.

Arriving at Schaffhausen
Helena’s turn to take some pictures.
So many pretty towns. Hard to keep them all straight.
Lovely Cathedral window.
Ma, enjoying the view of the Rhein Falls.
Rhein Falls.

Saturday we hopped the train for Lugano for our turn in paradise. Feeling anxious to get there as the glorious Mediterranean-like weather was not forecast to stay. We got a day and a half of bliss before the grey and rain settled in. And boy did we make the most of it, going indoors only when absolutely necessary. 

Finally back at our happy place.
The wonderful welcoming committee in Lugano.

When the sun is out, so are the lizards.
Until we find a frog, Grandma is game to hold a lizard.

Some baby sail boats out for a lesson.
Swimming!! Our favourite Lugano pastime. Not in April, turns out. Brave Helena experienced her very first (and maybe last) polar bear swim

We even found Dad out on our adventure, having arrived to Gandria by motorbike.

We had a cold and grey day of exploring Locarno with the hopes of finding the big dam made famous by the opening scene in the James Bond Goldeneye movie. (Google it…Verzasca Dam James Bond)

The priority of the day quickly became shopping when our overly optimistic outfits for the day proved a tad foolhardy. 2 spiffy new sweatshirts for the kids and we were good to go.

My handsome boy. Happy in his new warm sweatshirt.
Locarno – missing the wow-factor the sun and blue skies provides.
Pretty streets of Locarno.

The view of the Verzasca Dam. Completed in 1965
Don’t let his smile fool you. The grip he had on that railing is a death grip. This kid is some scared of heights. The structure behind him is the bungee jump platform. Pity it hadn’t yet opened for the season…G’ma was good to go!
G’ma and the kids at the far end of the dam.

And then the rain came… 

We watch the forecast like its CNN breaking news. Checking every few minutes for something that might give us a glimmer of hope. Turns out any claim of sunshine in the forecasts is fake news or even alternate facts. Not to be trusted. Certainly not reliable enough to plan an outing around. 

And so we stand near the window, watching.

“I think it’s letting up.”

“Is it just me or is it starting to brighten up a bit?”

“Look! You can almost see the other side of the lake again.”

And we go out when it doesn’t look so bad. Despite the fact that our exploring enthusiasm has been dampened (tee hee) we are still finding a good amount of adventure.

Yesterday it came in the form of locking ourselves out of our house. During a short window when the rain had let up we set out with the goal of walking far enough to justify yummy wine, cheese and chocolate. Just as we were nearing home at the end of our hike it began to rain again. Perfect timing…

And then the key stopped working. When we left the house we did something different in the locking up sequence. No idea what but we succeeded in creating an impenetrable fortress. 

Uh oh.

Time to get to know the upstairs tenant and hope to goodness that he speaks English. 

There is an inside door that is accessible by both apartments. This would be a super easy solution if we left it unlocked. With his access we head to that back door with fingers crossed. 

Nope, it’s locked.

No problem, he has a spare key – thank God!

Nope, we left the key in the lock on the other side of the door. His key won’t work. 

So close, and yet so far!

Gah! Why did we have to do everything right to secure our apartment so tightly.

The Swiss are innovative in so many ways. The prolific use of skeleton keys is less so.

After much chin scratching, hemming and hawing, he found just the right tool to pop the key out so that we could use his key to get in. Hooray!

Turns out that having a mysterious, recluse neighbour with good break and enter skills is fantastic. He’s my new favourite.

The rest of our days will be spent playing games, working on a jigsaw puzzle, reading and generally going a little bit stir crazy. 

We are ever hopeful that the sun will shine again.  

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